Yo La Tengo: Ira Kaplan (vocals, guitar); Georgia Hubley (vocals, drums); James McNew (bass guitar).
Personnel: Chris Stamey, Dave Schramm (guitar); David Henry (cello); Mike Tchang (saxophone); Chris Nelson (trombone); Allan Greller (upright bass); Dave Rick, Gene Holder, Stephan Wichnewski (bass guitar); Roger Moutenot (bongos).
Additional personnel: Mike Tchang (saxophone); Chris Nelson (trombone); Al Greller (double bass); Chris Stamey, Dave Rick, David Henry , Dave Schramm, Gene Holder, Roger Moutenot, Stephan Wichnewski.
Liner Note Authors: Johnny Puleo; Byron Coley.
Photographers: Jutta Brandt; Bettina Weiand; Raphael Fuchs; Michael Galinsky; Fred Brockman; Michael Lavine; Matthew Salacuse; Mike Baehr; Mac McCaughan.
Indie-rock bands come and go (sometimes very quickly), but few have developed such long and inventive careers as Yo La Tengo. Since the mid-1980s, Hoboken, New Jersey's finest have been perfecting their restless sound just across the Hudson River from the ever-fashionable music mecca of New York City. From this small distance, the group (founded by the husband/wife team of vocalist/guitarist Ira Kaplan and vocalist/drummer Georgia Hubley) started out appropriating the sounds of revered NYC bands, particularly the dreamy jangle-pop side of the Velvet Underground and the guitar noise of Sonic Youth. However, by 1993's PAINFUL, the trio (now rounded out by regular bassist James McNew) transcended their influences to beautiful effect.
The two-disc PRISONERS OF LOVE presents many of Yo La Tengo's best moments in non-chronological order, displaying the full range of the band. Here the trio veers from reverb-heavy rock ("Big Day Coming") to gentle pop (the utterly gorgeous "Our Way to Fall") to percussive funk (an entertaining take on Sun Ra's "Nuclear War"). Throughout the collection, the group's sense of adventure is clearly evident, whether running through a guitar freakout or settling into a sleepy vocal harmony. By 2005, Yo La Tengo had cemented their place in rock history as true indie greats, a status wholly affirmed by PRISONERS OF LOVE.
Spin (p.109) - "[A] chummy best-of-plus rarities set - full of sweet, catchy, noisy pop..."
Magnet (p.89) - "[T]hey got really good quite fast; Kaplan turned into an adroit feedback manipulator, Hubley became a marvelously crisp drummer, and McNew brought a rock-solid allegiance to the groove..."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.115) - 4 stars out of 5 - "Witty, nerdy, and scarily smart....Shaken or stirred, YLT's songs sound wholly original."